Why The Biggest Industry News in 2021 Is Actually The Biggest Opportunity in 2021
On 24th June 2021, Google announced that they will be delaying the proposed phasing out of 3rd party cookies by almost 2 years. Originally the date touted for this move was ‘early 2022’ and the new timeline suggests that this will now complete by ‘late 2023’.
This is seen as huge news for the industry as it allows for more time for companies to get their houses in order before an inescapable sink or swim situation unfolds with the removal of 3rd party cookies.
In reality, this news was foreseen by many (there was a sense of inevitability about the delay by Google, given the lack of viable and widely adopted solutions currently in the market) and now presents a big opportunity for the industry. An opportunity to continue at pace on the course that the industry has been carving out over the last year, an opportunity to reframe the fundamental principles and architecture of the AdTech industry, and most importantly, an opportunity to sustain the foundations of the open internet for many years to come. Fundamentally, nothing changes from this news, 3rd party cookies will be deprecated at some point in time and so the path that we are on does not change, the path has just become somewhat less steep.
My hope is that this delay isn’t seen as an opportunity for two more years of the status quo, or an opportunity to rest on laurels and to squeeze profits for another two years, without embracing the change that is coming.
Let’s not understate what this delay does indicate though; we need to get this right in order to sustain the open internet. Google understand the importance of targeting and measurement in advertising to their business model, but also the businesses of thousands of publishers, tech companies and advertisers across the industry, and this delay reflects that.
Make no mistake about it however, Google have been backed into a corner by anti-competitive inquiries and understand that any solutions that they develop or implement within their platforms or browser must be equally accessible to all in the industry. If anti-competition laws did not exist, Google could very easily create solutions using their vast amounts of logged in user data and exclude access to this from every other player in the industry, but they know that this will not fly and so have to find solutions that work for all. Credit where credit is due though, Google allowing more time to find the correct solutions is a positive step for an industry, which on the current trajectory, was heading to battle in early 2022 without armour. I am sure that in the long run, once we settle on those solutions, Google, as they have done so successfully in the past, will find ways to bolster the solutions in their own platforms which will provide a competitive advantage to those using their technology.
In the meantime, let’s rally behind the numerous solutions that are already available, those that are being proposed, those that are merely just concepts at this stage, because let’s not forget that the Privacy Sandbox proposals are not going to be the only solutions available to advertisers. There are already many amazing companies developing innovative solutions to provide alternatives, and we can continue on this path to get these solutions adopted well ahead of the new 2023 deadline set by Google.
The future of targeting and measurement in digital media will not be a one stop solution, it will not be dictated or controlled by one organisation (let’s not forget that Amazon have begun blocking FLOC from functioning on their websites), and so we should use the additional time at our disposal to test new solutions and their efficacy in comparison to 3rd party cookie based solutions whilst we still can!